Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church


Pastoral Strategy

October 28th, 2012, Promulgated by benanderson

This is a multi-part book review on Ralph Martin’s new book “Will Many Be Saved?: What Vatican II Actually Teaches and Its Implications for the New Evangelization” by guest submitter Dominick Anthony Zarcone.

Here’s two pertinent links that Dominick left in the comments of the previous post:

And here’s the video I referenced last time as well – definitely worth watching (or listening to)

Pastoral Strategy

Transmit the whole teaching of Jesus and the apostles as it comes to us in Scripture, Tradition, and the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium

This 7th installment (second to last) of the Book Review “WILL MANY BE SAVED?” highlights Dr. Ralph Martin’s suggestions to adjust the Church’s Pastoral Strategy in order to implement effectively the New Evangelization.

At the end of a masterful summary of the consistent biblical message that “there are two ways set before the human race: one way that leads to life, the other way leads to death……….the choice for God and the choice against God”, Martin makes a convincing case that ‘it matters whether or not the Gospel is preached; it matters if the horror of sin and being lost without Christ is acknowledged; it matters whether or not people repent, believe and are baptized’. Because evangelization really matters, Dr. Ralph Martin devotes his book’s last chapter to analyzing the pastoral strategy of Vatican II and how it is time to make an adjustment for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Martin documents the Council’s decision to not continue to be a Church “alienated from modern culture and locked into a defensive, apologetic stance perceived by the world as negative, condemnatory, and unattractive”. Pope John XXIII and the Second Vatican Council purposely changed the Church’s pastoral strategy to reflect the more positive aspects of the Gospel. The Catholic Church would attempt ‘to communicate more effectively and make evangelization more successful’. Therefore, the Council was called to be pastoral and not promulgate any condemnations.

But what kept the Church from being effectively evangelistic?

Should blame for ineffective evangelization be on accentuating the beauty of the Trinity/the Incarnation/the mercy and goodness of God and the beauty of the Church as the sacrament of Christ which manifests his face to the world? I don’t read “WILL MANY BE SAVED?” that way. As Martin demonstrates, the problem is with what was left out in this new strategy.

The pastoral strategy of Vatican II “chose to affirm everything it could about the endeavors of the modern world and modern man” while remaining silent about the consequences of rejecting the good news of salvation. Since the Council, no one talks about sin, hell and the need to repent.

Silence about the darkness of sin and the consequences of rejecting the one Savior could lead people to think it doesn’t matter; it doesn’t matter if people believe; it doesn’t matter if the Church doesn’t evangelize; it doesn’t matter if Catholics share the good news of the Crucified/Risen Lord with others.

But since it really does matter, the Church can no longer remain silent; for Heaven can be lost and Hell is real. It is a matter of eternal life or damnation.

By reminding his readers that it matters, is Ralph Martin out of step with the documents of the Second Vatican Council? Is Ralph Martin an extreme reactionary? No, not at all. In fact he is in step with Sacred Tradition and Magisterial teaching.

The book’s author quotes Pope Benedict XV in “On the Propagation of the Catholic Faith Throughout the World”, Pope Pius XI in “On Catholic Missions” and Pope Pius XII in “On the Present Condition of the Catholic Missions, Especially in Africa”; each of which are referenced in a footnote to LUMEN GENTIUM 17. In their own words, each of these Popes insist that it matters; there are consequences; people are in sin and darkness, in desperate need of Jesus Christ and the Church must bring them the Gospel of Salvation.

The last chapter of “WILL MANY BE SAVED substantiates that the Church must adjust her Pastoral Strategy, that ‘There is the need to Recover the Boldness of Apostolic Preaching’, and that ‘An Unwise Silence Should End’.

Dominick Anthony Zarcone

Dr. Martin asserts, “Salvation requires a response to grace”. He reminds his readers that LUMEN GENTIUM 16 & 17 concluded by citing the ‘great commission’ that Jesus gives his disciples to evangelize in Mark 16:16 and in Matthew 28:18-20.” The Second Vatican Council put it this way:

The Church has received this solemn command of Christ to proclaim the saving truth from the apostles and must carry it out to the very ends of the earth. Therefore, she makes the words of the Apostle her own: “Woe to me, if I do not preach the Gospel”, and accordingly never ceases to send heralds of the Gospel….By the proclamation of the Gospel, she prepares her hearers to receive and profess the faith. She gives them the dispositions necessary for baptism, snatches them from the slavery of error and of idols and incorporates them in Christ so that in love for him they grow to full maturity…. …..(to) the confusion of the devil and the happiness of man. Each disciple of Christ has the obligation of spreading the faith to the best of his ability. (LG 17)

Brothers and sisters, it does matter.


One Response to “Pastoral Strategy”

  1. avatar Dominick Anthony Zarcone says:

    In December 1990, Pope John Paul II promulgated
    “The Mission Of the Redeemer”. Article 46 reads
    In part:
    The proclamation of the Word of God
    has Christian conversion as its aim:
    a complete and sincere adherence
    to Christ and his Gospel through faith.

    From the outset, conversion is expressed
    in faith, which is total and radical, and
    which neither hinders or limits God’s gift.

    Conversion means accepting, by a
    personal decision, the saving sovereignty
    of Christ and becoming his disciple.

    Ever since my adult conversion to the crucified
    and risen Son of God in June 1978, I have
    been on the lookout for opportunities to announce
    Christ by word to both believers and unbelievers
    praying for either their deeper or initial conversion.

    Because we have been given this privilege and
    serious obligation, let’s take advantage of
    THE YEAR OF FAITH and “Proclaim God’s
    Holy Name’.

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